Study Guide

It Chapter 13: The Apocalyptic Rockfight

By Stephen King

Chapter 13: The Apocalyptic Rockfight

1.

  • Part 4, ladies and gentlemen!
  • It's titled "July 1958."
  • Bill is hanging out at the library. He's the first to get there…probably because he hasn't been dodging Pennywise like the other Losers.
  • He watches Mike, and thinks a bit.
  • It's mainly flashes of memory and nostalgia, all undercut by the fact that he badly, badly wants a drink.
  • He thinks back to the day he first met Mike. He goes into a bit of a trance, remembering branches, and the rest of the Losers, and music, and flashes of light…

2.

  • The flashes of light are coming from Richie's transistor radio, which is set to full blast.
  • Bill tells him to turn it off and Richie does; Bill is the leader.
  • The reality of that sets in, and Bill starts to wish there was still music. The silence is deafening. 
  • Then he looks at Beverly, and feels a fluttering in his tummy. Aww! Someone has a crush.
  • He talks about who they could tell about the creepy things happening around Derry. They can't go to the police, and most of them can't tell their folks.
  • But maybe Richie's parents? Would they understand?
  • Heck no, says Richie. His parents have too much to worry about.
  • He had tried to tell his mom that his glasses broke because Henry Bowers was bullying him, but she was just tired and worried about money.
  • Maybe another kid, says Bill. But who?

3.

  • All of the kids are thinking about Henry Bowers. To all the guys—Ben, Richie, Stanley, and Bill—it seems like they're #1 on Henry's hit list.
  • They're all wrong. Top on Henry's list is Mike Hanlon.
  • This starts with his daddy, the very crazy Butch Bowers.
  • Remember: this guy killed all of Mike's dad's chickens and then painted the henhouse with a swastika. He's bad news.
  • He lies about this, saying that Mike's dad did it himself for the insurance money.
  • At the time, an eight-year-old Henry Bowers totally believed him.
  • He also believed a bunch of other nasty stuff the racist Mr. Bowers said: that all black people are stupid but some are crafty, that all black men want to have sex with white women, and that basically all of the people in Derry were P.C. police who sided with Mike's dad because he was the only black guy around.
  • Ugh. It's really bad.
  • Basically, all of the Bowers' bad luck—the fact that they're poor and the farm goes belly up—is the fault of the Hanlons.
  • So young Henry saved his allowance for three weeks, went to the butcher shop, and fed the Hanlon's dog poisoned meat.
  • He even tied the dog to the tree so it couldn't go get help…and he sat and watched the dog die a slow, agonizing death.
  • Henry goes and tells his dad what he's done and the dad is proud of him and gives him his first beer. He goes on to associate the taste of beer with victory and love. Gross.
  • The dad is 100% nuts now, btw. In less than a year, Henry's mom will leave him.
  • The Losers club know who Mike is…because he's the only black kid in town.
  • But he goes to a different school: the Christian school.
  • It's because he goes to the Christian school that Mike doesn't get beaten more often.
  • There was one terrible time, when Henry threw him down in the mud, hit him, and told him that he had killed his dog.
  • (Mike didn't hear the last part, though, because he'd gotten mud in his ears.)
  • Mike's mom is furious and wants to call the Sheriff, but Mike's dad is more pragmatic.
  • He takes Mike aside and gives him a really depressing Facts of Life talk: the world is full of racists and Butch Bowers is totally crazy and evil.
  • Mike says he thinks Henry is crazy too—and, as it turns out, he's totally right. His dad doesn’t want to believe it, though.
  • Mike thinks about a kid at school who uses the n-word, and feels incredibly lonely and empty and sad.

4.

  • We're back at the Barrens now, where the Losers are pondering what to do about this crazy clown rampage.
  • (Meanwhile, Henry and his goons are chasing Mike towards the Barrens. But first things first.)
  • Bill says he's pretty sure It lives in the sewers.
  • His dad explained how crazy-complex the sewers are. It was one good conversation, one break in the icy silence that pervaded the Denbrough home since Georgie died. But Bill portrays their convo like it was a warm and cozy moment of dad-son bonding.
  • He also is pretty sure what It is: something called a glamour.
  • It appears as one thing for one person, and another thing for someone else.
  • He read a book in the library about Gaelic legend: It fits the bill. Glamour is only the Gaelic name: it's also called a manitou by the Plains Indians and a taelus in Himalayan tradition.
  • Taelus take the form of whatever it is you're most afraid of.
  • And, luckily, the Himalayans have a way to get rid of it. It's called the Ritual of Chüd.
  • You basically take turns telling jokes and riddles with the taelus.
  • If the human laughs first, the taelus gets to kill the human.
  • If the taelus laughs first, it has to go away for a hundred years.
  • (It's not exactly a fair match.)
  • This subject is more than a little heavy, though, and the kids decide to shoot off some firecrackers instead of think about Himalayan demons.
  • After all, it's the day before Independence Day.
  • They're all laughing and goofing around in the Barrens, not realizing that huge orange eyes are staring at them.

5.

  • Normally, not even the degenerate members of Henry's crew went over to the Bowers' farm. It was that creepy. Also, Mr. Bowers made them do weird chores.
  • But this time, they had fireworks to set off.
  • And that's how they ran into Mike.
  • They follow him for a bit, walking fast to cut the distance, but not running, because that would alert him to their presence.
  • Victor Criss is on edge and asks what they're going to do to Mike. He knows that Henry is a little unhinged.
  • The answer? Take him down to the coal pit and put firecrackers in Mike's shoes.
  • Victor makes sure he's not talking about the big firecrackers. He doesn't want Mike's feet to be blown off.
  • Of course not, says Henry. He only has a couple of the big firecrackers and doesn't want to waste them on Mike. Also, he says, he's going to steal Mike's clothes.
  • Hopefully, Mike will get poison ivy while naked.
  • Oh, and he's going to tell Mike that he killed his dog.

6.

  • The Losers make their way through the forest, headed toward the dump.
  • They’re making up all sorts of stories about how they're on safari...they see tigers in the woods, etc.
  • It's still pretty idyllic.
  • Then Beverly tells everyone that there are piranhas in the river.
  • This is all funny and sweet…except that Eddie actually sees piranhas. They're circling.
  • They're orange, he sees, just like the pom-poms that clowns wear at the circus.
  • He's terrified, and for a moment he thinks he's going to fall in and be skeletonized. He loses his balance, and Stan has to grab him to keep him for slipping in.
  • They all agree that the woods are fun, but also a bit eerie.
  • The nearer they get to the dump, in fact, the creepier things get. There's paper stuck in the trees, and the dump. Also, it kind of stinks.
  • When they get to an overlook, they see that the dumpkeeper is hanging out, keepin' the dump.
  • They realize they can't go down there. First of all, the dumpkeeper is spreading rat poison around. Secondly, he's not a nice dude.
  • They decide to kick it in the gravel pit near the train yard instead.

7.

  • Mike's running as fast as he can—he's being chased by Mike and his goons.
  • Thinking quickly, he ducks into the train yard. There's a sign saying that it's private property, but that's okay: he's trying to save his neck. He closes the gate behind him.
  • The two faster bullies get there first, and, sort of amazingly, tell him that it's "not fair" that he closed the gate.
  • Then Henry shows up, screaming racist epithets.
  • By this point, Mike is scared. To make matters worse, Henry throws a firecracker through the gate, narrowly missing Mike.
  • Then Henry tells Mike he killed his dog.
  • This makes Mike lose it, and he screams in Henry's face. Bad call, as it turns out, because this makes Henry climb up the chain-link fence.
  • Mike turns around, and starts running again. But, mid-sprint, he's infused with new fury about the fate of his dog. He decides that, instead of hiding, he's going to run to the gravel pit.
  • The gravel pit used to be a coal pit, and Mike grabs a bunch of chunks of coal…and starts throwing them at Henry.
  • He screams, "This is for my dog!"
  • He hits Henry in the forehead, and then in the throat. The other bullies are silenced, impressed.
  • Then Mike makes a run for it and climbs another fence. Someone throws a hunk of coal at him and cuts his face; the bullies also start lobbing firecrackers.
  • The bullies climb the fence, screaming threats at Mike.

8.

  • The Losers have made it to the gravel pit as well—they want to shoot off firecrackers.
  • But suddenly, the sound of an explosion cuts through their goofing off.
  • Beverly is worried: she thinks it's dynamite.
  • They hear another explosion and put away their firecrackers, and start picking up rocks.
  • Rocks make better ammo.
  • They're all pretty nervous, but no one starts running away.

9.

  • We cut back to Mike who is still running.
  • He sees the Losers and screams, on instinct, to Bill: it's obvious Bill is the leader.
  • He's trying to say that he's being pursued by bullies when, right to cue, Henry and his goons appear on the scene.
  • Henry insults all of the Losers (after all, he's tormented all of them before), but he says he'll let them all go. Today, he just wants to torment Mike.
  • But Bill stands his ground and tells the bullies that they can take a hike.
  • Henry is not pleased with this remark.
  • So Bill, who has been collecting rocks, lobs a few at Henry. One of them hits him square in the face.
  • The Losers, all armed to the teeth, also pelt Henry with rocks.
  • Henry's picking up rocks to throw as well, but the Losers got all the good ones. He mainly is able to pick up pebbles.
  • But Beverly is hit by a rock and starts bleeding.
  • This makes Ben totally lose it: he bum-rushes Henry and knocks him over. Remember, Ben is big.
  • Ben screams at Henry, who retaliates by lighting one of his big firecrackers. He throws it at Ben, who thoughtlessly (and bravely) swats it back to Henry.
  • It explodes, tearing off half of Henry's shirt.
  • From then on, it's total mayhem.
  • A kid name Moose comes up and hits Ben, and Bill hits Moose from behind. Everyone starts throwing rocks at Moose.
  • Victor, who's pretty good at baseball, is doing the most damage to the Losers.
  • But he and Bill have something of a standoff, or a duel: they walk toward each other, pelting each other with rocks.
  • Luckily, Victor runs out of rocks first. He turns around and runs off. So does a kid named Peter.
  • This leaves Belch, Moose, and Henry.
  • Bill talks to Henry, saying that the six Losers won't stop until the three bullies are in the hospital.
  • Mike joins in and corrects Bill: there are seven kids willing to stand up to Henry.
  • Henry calls Mike the n-word, and the Losers pelt him with rocks.
  • Finally, the bullies back off.
  • The Losers relax in relief: Eddie has an asthma attack and Ben pukes, but they're basically okay.
  • They size up Mike, and Bill has a realization that they're all together now. It's an odd thought, and followed immediately by another creepier one:
  • Now it really starts.

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